Workers who keep the UK’s roads moving are being backed by Britain’s biggest union, Unite, in their bid to win a fair deal on pay.
Employees with Amey at four depots in Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire plan to take the first in a series of planned 24 hours of strike action tomorrow (Friday 13 February).
The dispute is over what Unite believes is a paltry pay offer from Amey of just 1.75 per cent and the company’s clear attempts to dismantle long established collective bargaining agreements.
These arrangements had been working well under Carillion before they were Tupe transferred (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) over to Amey in April 2014.
But in a bid to undermine collective agreements Amey is putting new starters on contracts which allows Amey directors alone to determine pay year-on-year.
Branding this move ‘totally unacceptable’ Unite warned that it would lead to staff ending up with no pay rise at all, while Amey pays directors over a million pounds and hikes their pay by 65 per cent in four years.
Unite is calling for a 5 per cent pay increase to reflect the near static settlements of recent times which have seen wages fall in real terms. The union went on to urge Amey to get back around the negotiating table in a bid to find a reasonable settlement that addresses members’ concerns over pay and the undermining of the bargaining group.
Commenting Richard Gates Unite regional officer said:
“This is a company which manages over 30,000 miles of local highways across the UK, gritting roads and maintaining crash barriers. The work our members do is fundamental to safety on the roads and their pay and conditions surely must reflect that reality.
“Amey talks of the need for ‘safe well-functioning road networks’ but a good starting point would be acting in a responsible and professional manner towards its employees.
“Unite members have no wish to take strike action but are being forced to do so by a company unwilling to listen, much less address their concerns.
“Seventy-four per cent of our members backed this strike on the back of a 100 per cent turnout; our resolve is strong. More walkouts will follow unless Amey starts talking.”
The four depots involved are Breakspear at Hemel Hempstead, Whittlesford in Cambridgeshire, Sandy depot in Bedfordshire and Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.
Unite members are taking 24 hour strike action from 6am on Friday 13 February, again from 6am Monday 16 February, then on Friday 20 February at 6am, and finally on Monday 23 February at 6am.
For further information contact Douglas Beattie in the Unite Press Office on 020 3371 2058.
Notes to editors:
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.